Kinder-Morgan seeks legislative end-run
To the editor:
The citizens of Berkshire County are literally on the frontline of a nationwide struggle against the harm that fracking corporations — including corporations such as Kinder-Morgan essential to the fracked gas infrastructure build-out — are doing to communities around the country. As one might say, each Berkshire citizen's role here is somewhat akin to that of Paul Revere and his horse during their midnight ride.
The latest, critical battleground of this struggle is the November 10th public hearing at the Statehouse for Kinder Morgan's Sandisfield Article 97 Land Bill (H.3690), a bill to turn over property in Sandisfield (part of the Otis State Forest) for Kinder-Morgan to build a pipeline.
Article 97 of the state Constitution serves to protect lands that have been put into conservation in perpetuity by the state. It states that in order to "give back" a protected parcel, 2/3 Senate and 2/3 House approvals are required.
Approval to override the intent of Article 97 is being sought through legislation (H.3690, "An Act relative to the conveyance of an easement in the town of Sandisfield, Massachusetts") sponsored by State Representative Garrett Bradley (Hingham) at the request of the of Kinder-Morgan's subsidiary, the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company.
If H.3690 were approved, Kinder Morgan would secure permanent access and easements to state-owned, public conservation lands in Sandisfield. These easements are necessary for Kinder-Morgan to build underground transmission pipelines for its proposed Connecticut Expansion Project.
Thus we, the citizens, are called to stand with the people of Sandisfield and representatives, state Senator Benjamin B. Downing and state Representative William "Smitty" Pignatelli in protecting not only land and irreplaceable natural resources in Sandisfield but also the health and lives of people, their children, and the myriad life-enhancing species endangered by fracking and the distribution of fracked gas throughout the country.
All five of the Berkshire legislators are opposed to H.3690. Moreover, Sen. Downing (Benjamin.Downing@masenate.gov) and Rep. Pignatelli (Smitty.Pignatelli@mahouse.gov) are also seeking testimony by email — or the personal presence at the Nov. 10 public hearing — from all county residents and concerned parties.
A final note to Eagle readers: If you wish to provide testimony, please include in your joint email to Downing and Pignatelli email copies to the Nov. 10 hearing committee chairs, namely The Honorable Joan Lovely (Joan.Lovely@masenate.gov) and The Honorable Peter V. Kocot (Peter.Kocot@mahouse.gov).